Boycotts Do Work — Just Ask Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity

limbaugh-frownThe era of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity may be coming to an end sooner than expected with the revelation that Cumulus Media, the second largest broadcasting company in the United States, has decided to drop both of them at the end of the year.

Comedians and bloggers, don’t think these two are going away. However, this is a blow to both of them, especially Limbaugh who doesn’t have an evening TV show on Fox News like Hannity does. In other words, Hannity will be just fine but this going to really hurt Limbaugh.

The next time someone talks about “letting the free market handle it,” remind them of this event. And while it doesn’t signal a true “end” for Rush Limbaugh being on the airwaves, it’s by far the most significant blow he’s sustained in his media career — and it’s owed in large part to the millions who’ve boycotted Rush’s advertisers, forcing them to sever ties with the controversial talk show host.

Talk radio (and radio in general) has been on the ratings and advertising dollars decline for many years now and the boycott against sponsors of Limbaugh after his vitriol-laced attack on Sandra Fluke most certainly hastened this decision. Back in May, PoliticusUSA reported the following:

“What the mainstream media neglects to mention is that all of Rush’s problems can be traced back to the ongoing success of the advertiser boycott. If people would have let Limbaugh get away with calling Sandra Fluke a slut, the rift between Rush and Cumulus would not be happening right now. The fact of the matter is that the boycott is still costing Cumulus and Rush Limbaugh money. Most of the hundreds of advertisers who left haven’t come back.”

That’s right, boycotts can work. We hit the broadcasting companies in the wallet and now that is trickling down to Hannity and Limbaugh who will have to find other avenues through which to spew their insane rants against educated women, liberals, minorities and anyone else who isn’t a heterosexual conservative.  Media companies depend on advertising and unless they’re seeing ratings or internet traffic, advertisers will pull out. Hannity, Limbaugh and other right-wing personalities have an ever-shrinking audience and the younger generations not only tend to have more liberal beliefs, but the radio isn’t where we go for information anymore.

But don’t let someone fool you into thinking that this was a move by some “liberal media” entity that’s just out to get Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Cumulus Media realized that if they want to stay relevant and make money, they’d have to jettison the dead weight — and so they did.

Had these boycotts not had an impact, Rush Limbaugh would still be rolling in revenue from his advertisers and his steep price tag for his “services” (racism, ignorance and bigotry apparently cost quite a lot) would have possibly been more justified for Cumulus Media to invest in. However, with the hemorrhaging of advertisers, and the diminished revenue stream created by the exodus, it gave Cumulus the leverage to negotiate a much lower price with Premiere to continue carrying the shows — which was much less than they were willing to take.

Rush Limbaugh isn’t a “big deal” anymore. He’s a washed up pile of garbage, a relic of a day and age when ignorance was tolerated. But those days are quickly fading away. They’re being hastily extinguished by a younger, more educated and liberal generation that will no longer sit idly by and allow someone like Rush Limbaugh to pollute our airwaves with his nonsense.

What this news proves is that your voice can be heard, and it has been heard.

When applied properly, a boycott can force a company to change the way it operates or end up out of business. Whether it is Cumulus Media, Fox News or even a multi-national corporation like Monsanto, all are vulnerable to boycotts because they are all in existence for one thing and one thing only — money. Refuse to do business with companies who advertise on channels that support hate speech or indulge in unethical business behaviors. Cut off the ad revenue, cut off the sales and the whole thing dies on the vine — as evidenced by the domino effect it has had on Rush Limbaugh. By year’s end, Limbaugh’s toxic brand of “radio news” will have a much smaller reach, which is great news for the sanity of our country as a whole.


Facebook comments

  • tcaruso01

    With less Windbag on the airwaves, the world will be a better place! Now we just have to get him off AFN so that our troops don’t have to listen to his hatred!!

  • askbillmitchell

    Relax. Rush will just go to XM and ink a multi year 8 figure deal. He’ll be just fine.

    • WillardGibbs

      Dream on, Billy-Boy!

    • Gipper1015

      Looks like you need to relax, Billy, as you probably will not continue to be spoon fed by Rush and Hannity’s race and hate rants for while… Better learn to suck it up.

    • тнeresa presтon

      I do not see an audience that would pay to hear Rush’s vitriol let alone get it for free. These people want him off of the free airwaves. You have to pay for XM – and there are no advertisers on those airwaves – which is the reason why you pay to hear it.

      • askbillmitchell

        Just like a lot of people who didn’t see a market for Howard Stern when he jumped from FM to XM, right? Sure, not all of the 11 million + listeners will become subscribers but then again all he needs to just a hefty pay day is 1% which is 1.1M which would net XM approximately 18 million dollars a month in subscriptions that equates to approximately 216 million a year. He could command 10% of that which would net him 22 million a year over a 5 year deal is 110M dollars.

        While this boycott MIGHT force him off terrestrial radio he has other lucrative options, you won’t get rid of him completely until he is ready to step down.

        I know that just infuriates Gipper, the fact I was cursed with the ability to do simple math.


    This article is somewhat inaccurate. The problem for Rush has NOT been boycotting of his advertisers. It has been the strong and persistent activism of the “Flush Rush” Facebook group. Volunteers from the group listen to Limbaugh’s show and note the advertisers on it, then post the names of the advertisers with contact information. Then many more volunteers set about using the information to contact the advertisers by email or by Facebook posts on the advertisers’ Facebook page, and tell them just how badly their image is being tarnished by association with Limbaugh. So many advertisers have left Limbaugh as a result of this activism that many stations are supporting his program by rotating ads from firms that have made general ad buys onto Limbaugh’s program to fill ad time that would otherwise be empty. The volunteers also suggest to advertisers that they request to be on the “No Rush List” so their ads will air on other shows but not on Limbaugh’s. This work has been so effective that even Limbaugh’s parent company, Cumulus, is in serious financial trouble. If you want to help, go to the Facebook page “Join the fight to flush Rush Limbaugh”, sign up, and begin contacting Limbaugh’s sponsors (politely please). Then you, too, can say you helped to flush Rush!

    • Hillary

      This is awesome! Thanks so much for the info. Will get started on doing this right away!

      • tibichon

        What a dirty rotton thing to do. It’s not even showing the majority, just what a page with a persistant minority group will do. How unfair.

      • xnerd

        Want to know about a majority dimwit?
        Republicans/teabaggers make up approximately 20% of the population. You are going to realize what that means next year.


        Let us know how that works out for you

  • Peter Deep

    I would have loved to read this report written by a decent journalist. Who are Cumulus Media and what is Premiere? The author doesn’t say. If Hannity has a show on Fox, what does he have on Cumulus? I could go on, but that would be tedious.

    • DocMatter

      Cumulus Media is the 2nd largest broadcasting company in the US (as quoted in the article, so the author does say). Chances are, several of the radio stations in your area are owned by Cumulus. Premiere isn’t mentioned in this article at all so he shouldn’t have to explain who they are. And if you read the article, it’s pointed out that Hannity has a TV show on Faux News and a radio show with Cumulus.
      I could go on, but that would also be tedious.

      • Rukakika

        Well, aren’t you just cheeky and smug. I don’t live in the US so the chances of Cumulus owning anything in my area are zilch. I’ll give you that he does explain who Cumulus is (my error, it was in the link which I glossed over) but he does mention Premiere (“it gave Cumulus the leverage to negotiate a much lower price with Premiere” and nowhere have I found where he explains what Hannity does on Cumulus. But you’re missing the point because there’s a lot of this article that requires prior knowledge – Sandra Fluke is another example. A good journalist knows to write something informative but also self-contained, so anyone without prior knowledge could come in and understand what he’s writing about. Not to provide all the background but enough that the reader understands what’s going on. It’s his job to inform. Sorry if you disagree.

      • DocMatter

        Unfortunately, with the advent of the internet and blogging, journalism as we used to know it has made some changes. In a newspaper or magazine article, you’re right, all the prior info should be given. But with the internet, and this article, a simple link can take you to a similar article where all needed info is explained in more detail. Such is the case here, where the first link in the article takes you to another article that answers all your questions regarding Premier, Cumulus and Sandra Fluke.
        I’m not saying this style of journalism is better, but it fits the expedience that everyone seems to want from the internet.

      • Rukakika

        1. You’re just excusing a lazy writer.

        2. Obviously this is not what “everyone seems to want from the internet” as I am not alone in this view.

      • Dave

        No, she’s actually pretty accurate. I have no need for every sub-story to be fully explained in an article, especially when links are provided for those items I don’t remember or don’t know about at all. Sorry this doesn’t work for you, but it’s a valid style, and quite common in today’s internet journalism.

      • donschneider

        Most of us who read the article have scored well on reading comprehension exercises and are residents of the 21st Century. Who is Sandra Fluke indeed !

  • Paul Bodnick

    Good news.

  • Roxanne Agredano

    Yay! Rush is a horrible person with so much hatred. I hope they just take him off the air.

  • greeneyesinspring

    taking out the trash.

  • You never know

    I think the main thing affecting his ratings and advertising is the fact that we as human beings are finally sick to death of hearing his pollution.

  • Daniel Waitkoss

    I wonder if (F)lush would try to go the way of Glenn Beck and try to create his own network? I am not sure if the Blaze is working since I think that Beck is a bit more of a wacko than even (F)lush or any of the right-wing nut jobs (and, oh, there are so many).

  • tafkal

    But I have no interest in investing in gold…or guns…or a fallout shelter.

  • MattL

    Limbaugh is one of the highest rated talk show hosts. The fact that he garners these ratings outside of the morning and evening drive slots makes him valuable to stations. He will be on the radio as long as he still wants to produce his daily show. But the boycotts DO lower the price of his ads. It makes his show less attractive to the higher watt AM stations and syndicated networks.

  • chief

    You say younger more educated liberals. My kids drank the Obama kool aid. Now as they see what Obama care is going to cost them and are waking up to other things that will effect them. They have found out on their own as more of their friends are coming to realize . I just smile.

  • Dave Demsey

    I used to listen to ‘Rush to judgement’ and Hannity’s insanity just to hear how these kinds of people ignore facts and justify their selfish opinions as well as for a laugh, but i found that their poison was effecting me in negative ways. I became more and more cynical and frustrated by them and it wasn’t entertaining me but annoying me. I stopped listening to them and my life suddenly became sunny (I literally got a job in Bermuda) and life changed for the better and I mean immediately. If you are a listener to any of the Fox News cartoon characters or Rush or that screaming AFLACK duck sounding creature Mark Levin, PLEASE turn your radio off for a few weeks and come back from the abyss. I guarantee it.

  • lvpdrsickos

    There is so much better in this world that should be shining, why on earth do the airwaves insist on this kind of hatred to litter it? It’s enough already, nobody wants these windbags lies anymore. These idiots have zero to do with entertainment, it’s all none factual and worst of all they have racist agendas. Let’s give him what he deserves, THE BUM RUSH WHILE TAKING OUT HANNITY, GLEN BECK AND THEN ANN COULTER. THE WORLD WILL BE A BETTER PLACE WITHOUT ANY OF THESE HIGH PAID LOWLIVES.

  • momof2

    And who said wishes can not come true…(-:

  • anonymous

    Just to hear your awesome come backs. I believe it was Rush and Hannity who agreed with Romney during the election about the future of the economy. The future which now is crashing down in front of us right now.

    Sorry about your hurt feelings when I say this but he is right about nearly everything. And a free market economy creates jobs and a strong middle class. If the government makes steps to help out small business and business minded people by making it easier on them to make money by starting a business instead of requiring more of the business owners we WILL have a decreased unemployment rate and more people paying taxes.

    Now I don’t particularly care for Rush he sounds angry to me as well but I have to say he is completely within good reason to be angry. The national Debt is going to pass 17 Trillion dollars, DETROIT CITY declaired bankrupcy, Unemployment has been high for a very long time along with a record number of people needing government assistance and the deteriating of Christian values which have been the key factor in strengthening families and marraiges which are the foundation of our society.

    He has great reason to be afraid to be angry to hate to blame and every right moraly and under the law to broadcast his oppinion over the air and I for one hope he does.
    Just because he isnt saying what you want to hear doesnt mean there isnt truth to it. And in no way should we ever try to shut someone up ever.

    Also Rush got a job with FOX NEWS. Your going to be seeing more of him than you think I think.

    • producerdude

      Hey anonymous,
      Are drinking the Faux Spews Kool-aid..? Five short years ago we were losing 800,000 jobs per month, the stock market was worth 1/2 of what it is today, homeowner value, Wall St. – in the tank, spending trillions on unfunded wars, Patriot Act, etc, etc. Sure there is plenty of work to be done, but…

      I do agree that there has been a deteriorating of Christian values but this bigoted, racist, hater is one of the causes of such deterioration. And you are calling what he says is “the truth”… and you say “he has great reason to hate and to blame” There’s some “values” for you.

  • BranMakMorn

    So many advertisers have left that Limbaugh is rolling in dough and just signed the biggest deal of his career. You fascists shouldn’t brag about stiffling free speech, you sound just like Obama and his IRS suppression of the vote. Join the Nazi party, progressives because Nazis are what you are.

  • Chris

    I just came across this article many months after it was posted, and the thing that saddened me in the comments is that folks are talking about how mean/angry Rush and Hannity are, but yet the comments are filled with vitriol. It seems we’ve hit a point in this political environment that we can’t disagree on issues without personally attacking the other side on a personal and cruel level. I listen to Rush (and I don’t hear the hatred that he’s regularly accused of), but can’t listen to Hannity (he’s too rude to people who disagree with him). but without hearing opposing views we can’t gain a full understanding of why people think/believe the way they do. For those of you on the left, listening to Fox (or Faux as it’s been called here) as well as MSNBC or ABC has value.
    In short, it’s interesting to see wild hatred accusing others of hatred. Especially when my guess is that most of you haven’t listened to either Rush or Hannity, outside of soundbites you’ve been provided.

  • Billy Matthews

    And Two years later Rush is still going strong, what happened to the boycott.